Apr 1, 2016

Ancient fertility rituals

 In ethnographic notes from the beginning of the twentieth century one can find descriptions of rituals which spurred fertility, which are, as one can notice, completely lost in the first half of the previous century; this proves that the Illyrian cult of fertility managed to preserve itself among our people, a cult which was based on pagan beliefs. Role of men and women is pronounced in them, i.e. the things which were called in the ancient witchcraft/paganism High priest or high priestess, which blessed nature and called upon its forces via sexual relation.

With the advent of monotheism though the pagan religion or better to say the religion of nature, was repressed, this has not necessarily represented the end of it since the pagan rituals were an integral part of agriculture, i.e. cult of fertility, without which people couldn't live. That's why a resistance towards the forced religion arose and a special, parallel form of the religion was created, which we today known as "folk religion" based on pagan beliefs and customs, whose age dates from the earliest days of our people, therefore the ethnologists and anthropologists themselves cannot fathom their origin and symbology.

The worst evil that could take place with the advent of monotheism, primarily Christianity and Islam, is violent distancing of man from nature. But, this was the only way that church, despite the forceful christening and demonising of all things pagan, could significantly suppress the religion of nature, or more precisely - marginalise it. However, even in such a crippled form, without freedom or religious equality of men and women, the cult of fertility managed to prosper. The substratum of the former High priest and priestess was located in marriage, i.e. the husband and wife could without any judgement continue to practice their ritual incitement of fertility and preservation of life itself, in the privacy of their home.

Horns of god Vidasus

Paganism is based on the belief that men and women have equal rights and that the first and oldest deity in human history was the Grand Mother, the one that gave life to all things, the one whose traces can be found in the neolith period. Man and woman also signify two sexes without whom life in nature is impossible and whose bodily connection is nothing short of nature's blessing. That's why the symbols of paganism were always symbols of sexuality and fertility, especially the horns, snake, staff, circle, etc.

The most reliable traces of the Illyrian cult of fertility are evident in certain parts of Bosnian love magic, closely tied to stimulating fertility, where one can clearly notice a focus on individual forces of creation. It is noticeable that in magical practice nudity during rituals is emphasized especially if the woman or girl is taking the "horns" of the house with her hands, i.e. roof, and repeats a magical formula. While uttering the curse she firmly holds the roof, or even shakes it, desiring to attract the attention of none other than god Vidasus himself.

Horns are, as it is known, an ancient symbol of fertility and power but also the ancient characteristic of the moon goddess. According to the occult definition the roof represents a heavenly part of the house, as does the trunk of the tree (beam or "horns" of the roof are made out of tree), while the home threshold is closely tied to the earth, its function is to signify a border between the external and internal world, through which one enters and exits, and that's why in folk religion of BiH it denotes a vagina - "it's not good for a girl to sit on the threshold since she will have difficulty giving birth", etc. In this short analysis we cannot ignore a very important piece of information which relates to the description of Vidasus, god of fertility and nature, whose status symbols were large horns on the head, and the ritual holding of the "horns" is explained by this fact. Nudity, is similarly, one of the key sequences in the pagan ritual of fertility, where there is no false morality, instead the beauty and sexuality of the human body is celebrated. In the preserved relief depictions naked girls are dancing around god Vidasus (faeries, nymphs) with long, unbraided hair.  

There are more preserved data which confirm the thesis that we are talking about Vidasus and rituals dedicated to him. Namely, in order to subjugate a man to her will, usually a husband, a woman looks at him through her hand, discreetly, and repeats the following formula, which has a pronounced sexual tone, three times: "Place your horns between my legs!". This ritual is nothing else but an imitation of seduction of Vidasus by his companion goddess Tana, probably from some rituals dedicated to the renewal of the cycle of fertility. One could conclude that love magic is based on mimicry of ancient forces of nature or allusion of their heavenly power, all with the goal of connection and harmony with the eternal circle of fertility and life. Proof of this are the beginning of all magical formulas which are always based on the allusion "as I.so that."